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Publication Trends in Thanatology: An Analysis of Leading Journals



Publication Trends in Thanatology: An Analysis of Leading Journals



Death Studies 39(8): 453-462



To identify important trends in thanatology as a discipline, the authors analyzed over 1,500 articles that appeared in Death Studies and Omega over a 20-year period, coding the category of articles (e.g., theory, application, empirical research), their content focus (e.g., bereavement, death attitudes, end-of-life), and for empirical studies, their methodology (e.g., quantitative, qualitative). In general, empirical research predominates in both journals, with quantitative methods outnumbering qualitative procedures 2 to 1 across the period studied, despite an uptick in the latter methods in recent years. Purely theoretical articles, in contrast, decline in frequency. Research on grief and bereavement is the most commonly occurring (and increasing) content focus of this work, with a declining but still substantial body of basic research addressing death attitudes. Suicidology is also well represented in the corpus of articles analyzed. In contrast, publications on topics such as death education, medical ethics, and end-of-life issues occur with lower frequency, in the latter instances likely due to the submission of such work to more specialized medical journals. Differences in emphasis of Death Studies and Omega are noted, and the analysis of publication patterns is interpreted with respect to overall trends in the discipline and the culture, yielding a broad depiction of the field and some predictions regarding its possible future.

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Accession: 058661887

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PMID: 26020625

DOI: 10.1080/07481187.2014.1000054


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